How to Choose Proper Skateboard Decks

Skate decks are the biggest part of a skateboard. They influence the behavior of a ride dramatically. The proper choice depends on the preferred style of the rider. Before we start to dig deeper into the topic we will explore how skateboard decks are made.

Material

Most skateboard decks are made from wood. A deck consists of several layers of veneers which are thin sheets of wood. North American Maple is taken to construct these sheets because its durable and flexible.

Skateboard decks mostly consist of 7 layers of these sheets. Some have more layers other have fewer layers, for the purpose of decreasing the weight or increasing the strength of a skate deck. The veneers are glued together with different orientations of the grain. Some layers have the grain running from the nose to the tale while others have the grain running from side to side. This increases the stability of the board. After the gluing process, these stacks go under a hydraulic press to be formed.

The result has a upturned nose and tail and a concave body. In the next step, the deck is shaped with a band saw and eight holes are drilled for the truck mount.

Now the deck is sealed to protect it from environmental influences. In the last step, graphics are added to the skate deck. Most skateboard decks are screen printed but a it’s also possible to purchase a hand printed skateboard deck.

Check out the two awesome videos showing how Powell Skateboards are manufacturing their decks at the end of this article.

Deck Size

Width

Skateboard decks are between 7 and 10.5 inches wide. The wider a deck is, the more stability it provides. Wider decks are usually used for vert skating while narrower skate decks are used for technical street skating. Narrower decks allow to perform tricks such as heelflips and kickflips much easier than wider ones.

Length

The length of skateboard decks can vary between 28 and 33 inches. The longer the deck, the wider it tends to be and the other way around. The same rules apply as for the width of a skateboard deck. For vert rider a longer and wider deck might be better and for technical street skater a shorter and narrower deck might be more appropriate. For cruising streets, one might to consider buying a longboard.

Wheelbase

Is the distance between the mounting holes for the trucks. Common distances vary from 13 to 15 inches. Taller skater might be more comfortable with a wider wheelbase while smaller rider might be more comfortable with a narrower wheelbase.

This is only intended to be a rough overview of which deck size might be right. It’s all a question about style and personal preferences to choose the right skateboard deck, but it’s a good starting point for those, who feel overwhelmed by the many options of different deck sizes.

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